Luis is a product of TUSD public schools. He graduated from Richey Elementary School, John Spring Junior High and Tucson High School. He attended the University of Arizona and studied business management at the University of Phoenix. Luis’s experience includes four terms as an Arizona State Senator, serving on the Education Committee for eight years. He was the prime sponsor of several education initiatives, including the landmark Arizona Bilingual Act. He understands the educational tax structure and budget processes. While serving one term on the Pima College Board of Governors, Luis acquired firsthand knowledge and experience regarding what the college expects from students. Administratively, his experience as a City Manager for two small cities in Arizona (Town of Guadalupe and City of South Tucson) has given Luis the expertise in policy-making, particularly in budget preparation and implementation. Luis is familiar with general revenue and general obligation bond procedures. Luis’s vast experience in state and local government and in the private sector makes him well qualified to provide positive contributions to the difficult and important decisions facing TUSD.
As a former Arizona State Senator, Pima Community College Board member, city manager and executive director for tribal governments, and business owner, Luis Gonzales knows that working as a team with his colleagues is essential. Luis believes in the concept of coordinated participation: Careful and diplomatic negotiation and respectful debate and dialog are necessary in order to reach consensus. Because of his experience and skills, Luis is able to work with others regardless of philosophical differences that may exist. Successful decision-making as a group is not predicated on pride of authorship on issues before a body, but, rather on the greater good for the people who stand to benefit from solid, well-thought- out decision making. Luis is of the opinion that every participant has something positive to offer. Luis says, “A good listener will ultimately find ways to reach consensus through thoughtful, deliberate compromise for the development of a better product than what one may have started out with.” Luis has significant experience in the area of decision-making. Success in reaching a consensus on items of dire importance to the organization and the people who depend on those decisions is based on respect for each other and the recognition that the success of an organization is best reached when the elected officials pledge to work together with respect and offer clear solutions to problems. Luis believes that decisions on important and complicated matters must be made by vetting the pros and cons of an issue with adequate and factual information, respectfully debating them thoroughly, and then informing all participants as to the final course of action or decision that will be taken by the senior administration or elected officials. By doing so, the tendency to make knee-jerk decisions is eliminated, and the stakeholders are not betrayed.
Having served in a public capacity for a number of years, I am acutely aware of the public scrutiny to which public servants are subjected. I pledge that I am free of conflicts of interests that would interfere or create bias regarding my decision making on the TUSD Board. Further, my pledge is to ALWAYS work hard for STUDENTS and help prepare them for the future
There are many urgent challenges facing TUSD. Here are a few that in my opinion, need immediate attention
Procedures need to be consistent throughout the district. Clear policy and guidelines for implementation of fair and consistent student discipline must be implemented. In particular, long-term suspension policies have not always been followed. We must ensure that programs to assist students on long-term suspensions are robust, fair and educationally sound. This includes adequate staffing and funding
A more focused recruitment plan is needed to attract more teachers to fill the teacher shortage gap. We can start by offering competitive wages, valuing teachers and providing the tools they need in the classroom
This is an issue that needs to be reviewed thoroughly and to ensure that substitute teachers are treated in a fair manner in regard to their employee rights and benefits. Substitute teachers are critical to the success of TUSD
It is no secret that the district continues to be admonished by the court due to non-compliance with court orders. Careful attention is needed to correctly interpret court orders to ensure compliance. This will help get TUSD off the desegregation mandates. Forty-four years of desegregation non-compliance at TUSD is unconscionable
While it has been reported that enrollment has seen a slight improvement, better, more focused programs must to be implemented to increase TUSD enrollment and retention and graduation rates
The Administration’s recruitment and employment policies appear to be lax. Best practices in recruitment and hiring procedures need to be reviewed and should be implemented. I have heard many complaints from potential employees suggesting employment practices may be biased.
Students continue to fall behind in all categories of study. There is no excuse for poor academic progression. TUSD data show that many schools are behind as much as three grade levels below standard grade level. We cannot brag that we are doing well when data show the exact opposite. This is a paramount issue and of the highest priority and must be addressed with renewed vigor, higher expectations and commitment for improvement at every level of the TUSD hierarchy
Many of these issues will need public forums to encourage input from affected parties that can offer ideas for solutions to these problems. The community needs to feel valued, engaged and listened to, employees must be given more of a voice in the grievance and complaint process. Thorough dialog is essential to help find solutions to these issues. Students deserve no less